Sunday, August 12, 2012

Roasted Beet Karamadu (South Indian Vegetable Stir Fry)

South Indian preparations of vegetables are often very simple in order to highlight the quality and freshness of the vegetables themselves. The most common preparation - at least one that I ate often while growing up - is a quick high-heat saute of finely chopped vegetables in oil that has been flavored with urad dal, mustard seeds, and dried red chiles, with a handful of shredded coconut added at the end to round out the dish.

My mom uses this method for a wide variety of vegetables - green beans, cabbage, even finely diced cooked potatoes - and I recall liking every version of it, especially the potatoes, which I somehow now no longer care for.

When faced with a mountain of beets several weeks ago, I decided to give them the same treatment. The beets would, of course, have to be roasted beforehand, but as long as it's not over 90 degrees in your house (as it was for several weeks in my apartment during the heat wave in NYC), doing so shouldn't be too taxing.

Although several of the ingredients may require a trip to an Indian grocery store (or, more conveniently, Amazon), the dish itself is really easy to make.  The hardest part of any version of this is prepping the vegetables, which a friend of mine recently commented to me is the most time consuming part of vegetarian cooking (and with which I agree).

I served this with thinly sliced radishes and a radish-cilantro raita, but this would go great with basmati rice or parathas.


Roasted Beet Karamadu (South Indian Vegetable Stir Fry)
serves 6-8 as a side dish
vegan and gluten-free

1 1/2 pounds beets (I used a mix of colors, but the red ones will end up staining the whole batch so it's not really necessary to do so)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons urad dal
1 1/2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 arbol chiles or 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons shredded coconut (unsweetened, and preferably the frozen kind that isn't completely dried out)


Heat oven to 450 F. Wash and trim the beets and wrap them in foil. Roast until a knife pierces all the beets easily, about 45 minutes.

Unwrap the beets and let them cool for 10-15 minutes. Peel the beets, then cut them into 1/2" chunks and set aside.

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the urad dal, mustard seeds, and chiles (or chile flakes). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the urad dal is light golden brown and the mustard seeds are popping, about 3 minutes.

Add the beets and salt and stir well. Cook over medium heat until the beets are heated through, about 3 minutes.

Add the coconut, stir well, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, uncovered and stirring occasionally. Add more salt if necessary. Remove from the heat and serve.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...